Saturday, July 30, 2011

Circuses and Carnivals: That Song About the Midway

Joni Mitchell: That Song About the Midway


In British folksongs, gypsys represent freedom, or the yearning for it. A woman in the song runs off with a gypsy, but she is really seeking to escape the yoke of class expectations. In the United States, class consciousness is less overt, but the urge to run away is still there. We represent it in popular culture as the urge to run away and join the circus. Joni Mitchell’s That Song About the Midway combines these two archetypes, by presenting a woman who wants to run off with a potential lover in a traveling carnival. Mitchell’s narrator knows that this man probably won’t be good for her, but the “urge for going”, if you will, is still strong.

blog comments powered by Disqus